Paper Talk: Roby’s ilk unlikely to be seen again as he prepares to bow out

James Gordon
James Roby St Helens tribute

James Roby after making his 500th appearance for St Helens

As James Roby reaches 500 games for St Helens, the money on offer in the NRL looms for Wigan’s star of the year so far.

One of a kind James Roby

James Roby’s achievement of reaching 500 appearances for a single club is unlikely to be seen again.

That’s the verdict of coach Kristian Woolf, who heaped praise on his captain after he reached the milestone against Leeds on Friday.

Woolf told League Express: “It’s an unbelievable achievement and one that I honestly don’t think we’ll see again.

“He plays in one of the most physically demanding positions in the game. He’s an absolutely elite player.”

James Roby also reveals that he is ready for 2022 to be his last year.

“I’m ready for this one to be my last one. It feels like the right time to call it a day. I’ve mentally accepted that and I’m preparing as if it is my last one.”

MORE: St Helens: James Roby tipped to leave a legacy after 500th game

Fighting for Field

Jai Field’s electric start to the season at Wigan is unlikely to have gone unnoticed Down Under.

That’s the verdict of League Express editor Martyn Sadler.

He writes: “I can only imagine that there will be a queue of NRL clubs lining up to offer a deal when his Wigan contract expires.

“The money currently available in the NRL significantly exceeds what is available in Super League.”

While Wigan currently have three top level full-backs on their books in Field, Zak Hardaker and Bevan French – they could potentially be left with none of them in 2023.

Hardaker previously expressed a desire to leave due to wanting to move closer to home, while French is known to have admirers Down Under too.

Eye-watering deal for Ponga

Kalyn Ponga’s new $1.2m (£687,250) a year deal at Newcastle Knights highlights the gulf between the NRL and Super League.

The full-back had been attracting interest from new boys the Dolphins.

The Daily Telegraph are reporting he’s set to sign a new five-year deal to stay with the Knights.

It’s a blow for Wayne Bennett, who is still looking to recruit stars for the Dolphins’ inaugural year in 2023.

Spurs fan Reynolds targets cup glory

Hull half-back Josh Reynolds has his eye on Challenge Cup glory for more reasons than one.

The Australian is a Spurs fan, and this year’s final will of course be played at the superb Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

He told Hull Live: “I’m a Spurs fan. I’ve been there, me and Connor Wynne went there to watch a game so it would be awesome to play on it.

“I probably didn’t fully understand the cup last year and how much it meant to everyone. I’ve got more of a grasp now and I know how much it did hurt to lose that semi-final.

“We’ve spoken about it, we had a chance last year and we just weren’t good enough against Saints, but we’re definitely not taking it easy, we want to win the thing.”

Seeing yellow Down Under

Early season sin-bins haven’t just been a problem in Super League it seems.

The NRL has been embroiled in its own frustrations over yellow cards.

Mike Colman wrote in Daily Mail Australia: “This week over-use of the bin bordered on the farcical.”

It comes after Nelson Asofa-Solomona avoided a sin bin last week for a swinging arm to the head.

There are now even calls for players to be sin-binned for deliberately conceding penalties in a bid to stop the match and overturn a referee’s decision with the captain’s challenge.

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